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Johnny Depp on his return to Cannes and finding the “basement cellar”

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The day after the movie “Jeanne de Paris,” in which he played King Louis XV, opened Cannes, Depp told The Associated Press.

Around this time last year, Depp became embroiled in a defamation lawsuit he filed against his ex-wife Amber Heard, based on a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she called herself a “domestic violence public figure.” A UK court ruled in 2020 that a tabloid describing Depp as a “wife-beater” was “largely true”. Shortly after the British Raj was announced, Hollywood nearly severed ties with Depp, scrapping him from the “Fantastic Beasts” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

“When all this confusion happened is a good word. Confused. Because it’s almost like trying Bugs Bunny,” Depp says now. “You’re like, ‘Is this my life?'” What happened ?’ »

Dipp’s homosexuality was met in Cannes with similar degrees of confusion.

Outside of the Cannes premiere of “Jeanne du Barry,” fans heard autographs and signs reading “Viva Johnny!” On social networks, reception is mixed. Supporters who had heard about the hashtag #CannesYouNot rallied, arguing that Cannes – which has been criticized for hosting men accused of misconduct – shouldn’t be inviting Depp.

“If you support Cannes, you support scammers,” wrote Eve Barlow, journalist and friend of Heard’s. Heard herself did not comment on the Cannes premiere of Depp.

Depp has rarely spoken publicly since the trial, but he did agree to the interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday after a day of interviews with most French media. (Depp remains hugely popular in France, where he occasionally lives and where the film industry rivals his #MeToo.) He was keen to highlight his struggles in light of past Hollywood scandals.

“These years were not boring but rather unpleasant and curious. Adventures. Rumors. Accusations,” Depp said. “I’ve read a lot about Fatty Arbuckle but I’ve never seen any (Buster) Keaton come close to saving my ass.”

“One of the things that stuck in my head was the hunter,” he continued, quoting his longtime mentor, Hunter S. Thompson. I could hear him say: Buy the ticket, take a ride. ”

“I don’t think Marlon would have survived,” Depp said, referring to Brando. “I don’t think he came close to experiencing anything like that. If he had been alive to see this happen, he would have walked away. He would have killed someone.”

One thing that wasn’t clear was whether Depp had any regrets about how the trial went – a bitter and often theatrical legal battle in front of the cameras. Depp has become a hero to some right-wing critics of so-called cancel culture. When asked if he had any concerns about the supporters he has attracted, Depp replied:

“I noticed people really opening their mouths about it. At the time, it was gutsy.”

Depp added, “I wouldn’t regret anything unless I did something horrible to someone, which I didn’t.” I won’t regret following an exotic path during this period, because I learned a lot about myself. »

Directed by Moine French director and actor, Jean du Barry is Depp’s first film in three years. Maïwenn embodies Jeanne Vaubernier, a worker who becomes the mistress of Louis XV. Depp speaks French in the film, which has yet to be released in the United States. Maïwenn is also a controversial figure. She recently admitted to attacking prominent French journalist Edwy Plenel in a café, pulling his hair back and spitting in his face.

This is not the only job Depp has in Cannes. He’s seeking financing for “Moody,” a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani that he hopes to shoot this fall, with Al Pacino attached. Depp, who will perform next week in London as a tribute to the late Jeff Beck, a close friend, also renewed his contract with Dior in a $20 million deal.

“I don’t know Johnny Depp’s image in the United States,” Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival, said on Monday. “If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a movie, or if the movie had been banned, we wouldn’t be talking about him here.”

And there was a lot of talk generated by Depp’s appearance at Cannes, even the reviews weren’t great. Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine called it “less than a return from a slight aberration to a little spot of light”. But the general reception was warm. Depp, who said he lives 45 minutes away, was taken aback by the bondage.

“I didn’t know what planet I was living on,” he said with a smile.

Speaking to reporters at the festival’s press conference, Depp scoffed at the notion of so many critics, comparing anyone who protested his presence in Cannes to “sort of, a tower of mashed potatoes, covered in the light of a computer screen, faceless, with plenty of time.” Emptiness, it seems.

Depp later sat on a balcony overlooking the Croisette in Cannes, looking relaxed and jovial, though his thoughts remained fixed on his legal battles with Heard.

He said about his feelings before the trial: “You are not helpless but bound.” At that time, I just thought: F-he. I got lucky. I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve done a lot of movies. I think it’s legacy. I can live with that. I didn’t do anything wrong. But, he says, after years of swimming in “terrible molasses,” he came out of it much stronger.

“There’s no need for Hollywood then,” Depp said at the press conference. In the interview, he said he still intends to do more films, but outside of the studio system. At the same time, Depp denied that he was ever really a movie star in the first place.

“That’s the last thing you call me,” he said. “For 20 years they never talked about it until Pirates 1.” Oh, he’s a movie star now! We love it! ”

Many described Depp’s return to Cannes as an attempt to win back moviegoers after quite an eye-opening experience. Deep says he is not trying to convince anyone of anything. For him, no movie star is clean.

“You mean people’s obsession that everyone has to be Doris Day? Even Doris Day wasn’t Doris Day,” Depp said. “And it certainly wasn’t Rock Hudson. I can only submit what I think might be interesting or different. »

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